November 24, 2017 12:17 pm
Updated: November 24, 2017 7:15 pm

Winnipeg Transit launching pilot project to make drivers safer

New security measures announced today stem from the February 2017 death of Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser.

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The City of Winnipeg launched a pilot project on Friday to add bus operator safety shields to six city buses.

The city is testing out two different designs but only had one on display Friday. The barrier isn’t completely enclosed, the L-shaped design means an attacker could still reach over if they wanted to.

Winnipeg Transit will test driver safety shields on six buses in 2018.

Amber McGuckin / Global News

The city said the design also takes into account preventing drivers from getting too hot or too cold.

“You would want to ensure that the climate controls you have on the bus, whether that be heat, air conditioning or ventilation is suited for a complete enclosure,” Greg Ewankiw, Acting Director for Winnipeg Transit said.

The Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents bus drivers was invited to the media conference but cancelled about two hours before the event.

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“We’ve been waiting for nine months and after nine months we get one small thing done,” Aleem Chaudhary, union president said. “There’s so much going on we need better security.”

The security changes come after the 2017 death of transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser.

RELATED: Winnipeg transit community mourns driver after he was fatally stabbed

The transit union said so far this year there have been 50 assaults on bus drivers.

“Winnipeg is known as the assault capital for bus drivers within Canada,” Aleem Chaudhary, union president said.

READ MORE: Hundreds of Winnipeg bus drivers rally for safety at work

In the 2018 budget, the city also proposed other safety measures for transit like an investment of $460,000 for cameras and shelters for bus inspectors and $717,000 for additional transit security and point duty inspectors.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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